Five things you can do in Edinburgh to help refugees

A number of groups are working to support refugees settling in Scotland, with around 2,000 due to relocate from Syria over next three years
A number of groups are working to support refugees settling in Scotland, with around 2,000 due to relocate from Syria over next three years
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FROM donating walking boots to buying a bus pass, there are lots of practical ways to assist

Donate walking boots, unlocked mobiles and phone chargers

Edinburgh will welcome around 100 refugees from Syria in total.

Edinburgh will welcome around 100 refugees from Syria in total.

These are among the most urgent items being sought by Re-Act Edinburgh, a team of volunteers which collects and distributes supplies to refugee camps in Calais and across Europe.

Other essential goods include wind up torches, rolling water containers, tarpaulin and rope and EU power adapters.

Any boots should be taped together with the size clearly marked so they can be easily handed to those they will fit.

The drop off point is Studio24, 24-26 Calton Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8DP and goods should be delivered on Tuesday and Wednesdays from noon until 7pm.

The organisation is also looking for a range of volunteers.

For a full list of items require, visit or Re-Act’s Facebook page.

Buy a bus pass

Sometimes its the smallest of things that make the difference as the Refugee Survival Trust in Edinburgh well knows. It is running a winter “Buy A Bus Pass” campaign to make sure that asylum seekers are able to get to appointments with solicitors and the Home Office, as well as meet up with friends and attend social get-togethers.

It costs just £6 but will be a true help to those who receive them, said Diana Rix, co-ordinator with the organisation.

She said: “It will help people on a practical level get to appointments but also reduces social isolation. If you can’t afford transport, you can feel cut off very quickly. It makes such a difference to get a bus pass, particularly in the colder weather.”

This winter, 140 passes have been bought.

To donate, visit can then email with the date of donation and amount given.

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Open your home and donate your skills

Around 50 refugees arrived in Edinburgh just before Christmas with around the same number again to relocate to the capital in coming weeks. Housing will largely be supplied by the local authority in conjunction with the Home Office but those willing to offer a living space to a refugee are welcome too. Co-ordinated action is also being taken by the Scottish Refugee Council and the Scottish Government to compile a list of people who also want to donate skills - such as English teaching - goods and other practical help.

You can register interest at Contact will then be made once the next phase of resettlement is underway.

Be an ambassador for your city

You can volunteer with The Welcoming Association to insure that new arrivals to Edinburgh get both a pleasant reception to the capital and a genuine insight into the city, its attractions and its people.

The Welcoming Association ran a Scotland for Newcomers programme towards the end of the year and is looking to do the same in the near future.

The aim is for new arrivals to get to know the local culture with the help of those who live in the city.

Recent activities have included a night of Scottish music and songs, a screening of Sunshine on Leith and a tour of Central Library.

Throw a fundraising ceilidh

Funds are constantly being raised to keep refugee support services running as Scotland welcomes people in need.

The Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) has produced a fundraising guide to help people generate cash for the cause.

It also contains a list of suggested fundraisers, from ceilidhs to cake sales, band nights and bring-and-buy sales.

SRC said that £5 will help to provide a hot meal or a basic hygiene pack for a newly arrived refugee with £50 able to help inform refugees in their own language how to start the asylum process.

“With just a little spare time, energy and creativity you can make a big impact,” a spokeswoman for the Scottish Refugee Council said.